Coastal Areas: Suffolk

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 23 April 2024.

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Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey Conservative, Suffolk Coastal

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help maintain (a) Suffolk's coastline and (b) the cleanliness of bathing water.

Photo of Robbie Moore Robbie Moore The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government is investing £5.6 billion between 2021 and 2027 to better protect communities across England from flooding and coastal erosion, including around £1.3billion for defences along the coast. This investment includes a record £5.2 billion capital investment programme, a £200 million Flood and Coastal Innovation Programme (FCIP), £170 million for economic recovery from flooding and over £30 million of funding for flood incident management.

It is not always sustainable or affordable to defend every part of our coastline in the face of a changing climate which is enhancing the coastal erosion process. This is why we have allocated £36m over 6 years, for the ‘Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme’ (CTAP), as part of FCIP, to support communities in coastal areas at significant risk of erosion to adapt.

Coastal protection authorities are best placed to understand their coastline and to develop the most appropriate approaches to manage risk through Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) and their local planning policies. The Environment Agency (EA) work closely with Coastal Partnership East to monitor and deliver the Suffolk SMP to support the management of flooding and erosion on the Suffolk coast. This includes delivery by East Suffolk Council and partners of the FCIP Resilient Coasts project as well as the recent completion of a £2.3 million project protecting Felixstowe Ferry. The EA are supporting the East Suffolk Water Management Board to deliver the £12.2 million Upper Alde and Ore Estuary Project, which will protect Snape and Aldeburgh, and are also working with partners to develop projects for Pakefield, Southwold and Thorpeness.

The Government is committed to improving the quality of our bathing waters. Almost 90% of bathing waters in England met the highest standards of ‘Good' or ‘Excellent’ in 2023, up from just 76% in 2010 and despite the classification standards becoming stricter in 2015. Suffolk has 7 designated bathing waters; last season 5 were classified as ‘Excellent’, 1 was classified as ‘Good’ and 1 was classified as ‘Poor’. The Environment Agency assesses what action is needed to improve water quality to meet the standards set by the Bathing Water Regulations. Action plans are in place at all ‘Poor’ bathing waters, including the River Deben Estuary, Waldringfield in Suffolk. This includes investigations into pollution sources and visits to farms and water company assets.

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